Among the major peaks of the Apennines and the waters of the Adriatic lies a land rich in attractions.
More than 22 million cases of wine are produced annually in Abruzzo, making it the seventh most productive region in Italy, but only 21.5% of which is made under the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) designation.
The dominant grape varieties of the region are the red Montepulciano and the white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Montepulciano is the fifth most widely planted red grape in Italy. The variety is noted for producing darkly colored wines with thick soft tannins and with some aging potential. Trebbiano wines tend to be low in extract and acidity with faint aromatics that can be lightly floral. However, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo tends to be much more complex when compared to Trebbiano Toscano.
Verdicchio, as the name suggests was named after the green color of its berries. Verdicchio grapes ripen slowly and evenly and always maintain high levels of tartaric acid, meaning that these wines can be crisp and refreshing but are also very age-worthy. Verdicchio wines are very floral and delicately fruity, while older wines have a distinct flintiness. In both the young and aged expressions, Verdicchio often has a sweet almond-marzipan note.
Trebbiano Abruzzese is the correct and official name of the variety, often confused with Bombino Bianco. Trebbiano Abruzzese is a real gem, producing high-quality wines with a hint of white flowers and stone fruit on the nose, a creamy mouthfeel, and plenty of acidity with a citrusy minerality. Characterized by large leaves with five lobes and large long pyramidal bunches, the berries’ color is a deep straw-green when fully ripe.
This grape takes its name from the shepherds who used to eat its berries while accompanying their sheep’s flocks up and down the valleys searching for food. Pecorino is usually delicately herbal with balsamic nuances and with crisp apple and pear aromas and flavors. As the wine ages, it develops an almost milky, cheesy aroma. Acidity is high in these typically medium-bodied wines.
The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape is often confused with the Tuscan wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is actually Sangiovese. The Montepulciano grape is one of the most widely planted grapes in Italy, and creates easy drinking wines, that can either be made without oak for soft and approachable wines or with oak, making rich, tannic, powerful, and dark wines.
Medium-bodied red wines like Montepulciano generally pair with a wide variety of foods due to natural elevated acidity. However, with Montepulciano, the robust herbal and tobacco-like flavors with grippy tannin often call for richer and more savory foods. Montepulciano will cut through some of the meatiest meats (like beef brisket) and pair nicely alongside rich, roasted winter vegetables. If you learn only one tip about pairing with Montepulciano, it is to match it with something with fatty food.